On November 18, 2005, Johan Hedberg was sitting on the Dallas Stars bench as his counterpart Marty Turco was in the process of helping their team beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 6-3. Half a continent away, the Atlanta Thrashers were in the midst of a stunning come-from-behind win against the Philadelphia Flyers in which they scored twice in the final 1:50 to tie the score at 5-5…Peter Bondra and Patrik Stefan doing the honors. Greg DeVries then won the game in overtime for Atlanta.
Four years and ten days later, Hedberg helped the Thrashers end their 14-game losing streak to the Flyers by hanging a big, fat hairy ZERO on the scoreboard…Atlanta winning 1-0. A goose egg, as it were…or in this case, a “Moose egg”.
Yes folks…you see that correctly. The Thrashers have indeed beaten the Philadelphia Flyers! The mountain has been climbed! The orange and black dragon has been slain! Ding-dong…the witch is dead!
The Moose was certainly loose in this game as he stopped all 34 shots the Flyers were able to get away on him…compared to the scant 18 the Thrashers were able to get on Brian Boucher. Going into the game, Hedberg had a career record of just 1-7-1 with a 3.64 GAA and .871 SV% against the Flyers.
Rich Peverley’s power play strike from the left side halfway though the second period proved to be all the offense needed on this winning night. It was Peverley’s league-leading fifth game-winning goal of the season.
Hedberg and the Thrashers had to hold on for dear life in the third period as it appeared as though Moose season officially opened in Thrasherville and everyone in a white jersey was taking aim at Hedberg. Atlanta was outshot 13-3 in the final twenty minutes.
The penalty kill unit was call upon as well to continue their fine work on the season. For the night, they killed off five Philadelphia power plays, including a three-minute man advantage early into the third after Colby Armstrong’s game misconduct penalty due to a high-high and boarding call. The two teams skated 4 on 4 after the expected scrum ensued, then the Thrashers held the Flyers off for the remainder of the 5-minute major. In all, Atlanta was without Army’s services for the final 19:48 of the game.
Philly got another chance to pull even via the power play when Christoph Schubert sat two minutes for high sticking at 14:35, but were once again denied by Hedberg and the Thrashers defense.
The shutout was the third one recorded by the Thrashers since Friday the 13th…three goose eggs in 8 games played. That’s a lot to push out for such a little bird, eh?
Atlanta is 7-1-2 in their last ten games…a stretch that began with a 3-2 shootout win against the St. Louis Blues in which they trailed 2-0 in the third. As you’ll recall, Ron Hainsey tied the score on a crazy bounce in front of the Blues’ goal…and the Thrashers have road that good fortune ever since.
With the win, the Thrashers will wake up all alone in seventh place in the Eastern Conference with 29 points thanks to the Dallas Stars overtime win against the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Islanders being mugged in New Jersey 6-1 and the Rangers having been pummeled by the Penguins 8-3. The Thrashers had gone into Saturday night’s action tied with both New York teams and the Bolts.
29 points is an accomplishment the Thrashers did not achieve until the thirty-seventh game of the season last year. They’ve reached that mark after only twenty-thee games this fall.
Monday night, Thrasherville will get their first look at the Florida Panthers, who are coming off a 4-1 loss to the Nashville Predators Saturday night. The inter-division rivals have played better of late, going 5-2-3 in their last ten to bring their record to 10-11-4 after starting the season 5-9-1.
News From The Farm
Chris Vivlamore reported two items of interest earlier tonight…first off, center Angelo Esposito tore the ACL in the same knee that was damaged before. He’s out for the season. Also, Boris Valabik is set to return to the Thrashers on Monday. According to C-Viv, the team will go with 23 players upon Boris’ return and no one will be sent down. That’ll mean Atlanta will have 13 forwards and 8 defenders to go with Moose and Opie in the goal.
Our very own RStroz along with the lovely and charming Mrs. RStroz was one of the couples taking part in Saturday night’s Family Feud game during one of the stoppages in play.
I’m sure you’re like me in thinking it might be a hoot being part in these little contests, but as Mr. And Mrs. RStroz found out…it isn’t exactly “gravy”.